Borderline Personality Disorder Test

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Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a condition that affects a person's ability to regulate (control) their emotions. This can lead to relationship problems and impulsivity (acting or reacting without thinking first).

BPD is diagnosed based on the criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). This is the standard resource used by healthcare providers to diagnose mental health disorders. Five of the nine criteria must be met in order for BPD to be diagnosed by a mental health professional.

Below is a test with nine questions. If you answer "yes" to a few of these questions, speak to a mental health professional.

Only a trained and qualified mental health professional can diagnose borderline personality disorder, but there are certain questions you can ask yourself if you think that you or a loved one may have this condition. 

borderline personality disorder

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Border Personality Disorder At-Home Test

Answer "yes" or "no" to the following questions.

1. Do you have persistent fears of being abandoned?

A person with BPD may make frantic efforts to avoid being abandoned, whether this is imagined or real. They may start relationships quickly and also end them quickly so they don't risk being the one left.

2. Do you have a history of unstable and chaotic relationships?

Someone with BPD often shows a pattern of intense and unstable relationships. They may alternate between:

  • Idealizing: Feeling like they are extremely in love with the other person and even worshipping them
  • Devaluing: Becoming extremely angry at the other person and hating them

A commonly used defense mechanism in people with BPD involves "splitting." This means they see things as either black or white with no in-between. All of this can lead to behaviors such as ambivalence (being unsure if they like the person or not), avoidance, and extreme attachment in romantic relationships.

3. Do you often feel like you do not know who you are or what you believe?

An unstable self-image or sense of self is common with BPD. This can affect a person's moods and relationships. Identity disturbance in BPD can cause a person to change their beliefs, behaviors, or values at any time.

This unstable self-image can lead to problems understanding who you are in relation to other people. This can lead to boundary issues in relationships.

4. Are you driven to impulses that you know might hurt you?

Impulsivity or the tendency to do things without thinking first can cause reckless behavior. For BPD to be diagnosed, a person should show impulsivity in at least two areas that are seen as self-damaging. Some examples of impulsivity are:

  • Irresponsible driving
  • Spending sprees
  • Unprotected sex

Could It Be Bipolar Disorder?

There can be overlap between the symptoms of bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. If you recognize the symptoms described here, speak to a mental health professional to help you tease out a potential diagnosis.

5. Have you intentionally hurt yourself or become suicidal?

BPD can result in recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats. It can also result in self-mutilating or non-suicidal self-injury behaviors such as:

  • Cutting
  • Biting
  • Bruising
  • Burning
  • Head-banging

When to Seek Emergency Help

If you have suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to talk to a trained counselor. If you or your loved ones are in immediate danger, call 911 for help.

6. Are you highly reactive and prone to rapid and intense mood swings?

BPD can lead to periods of intense mood swings and instability in emotions. Moods may change quickly, often, and intensely. This is called affective instability and causes a person to swing back and forth between:

  • Dysphoria (dissatisfaction and restlessness)
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

7. Do you have feelings of emptiness that you cannot shake?

BPD can create a chronic feeling of emptiness inside. This is different from a distorted and unstable self-image. It is also separate from feeling hopeless and lonely.

Some describe it as a lack of self-feeling, while others consider it to be the inability to internalize positive thoughts and experiences.

8. Are you prone to rage or unable to control your temper?

Problems controlling anger and experiencing intense anger can occur in BPD. Anger is often fueled by:

  • Oversensitivity
  • Sudden reactivity
  • Rapid changes in emotion (emotional lability)
  • Unhealthy rumination

Decoding Violent Behavoir

Although people with BPD are often portrayed as being violent, they tend to direct negative emotions inward. By contrast, an antisocial personality disorder is characterized by the externalization of emotions and a greater tendency toward physical outbursts.

9. Do you get paranoid or shut down during stress?

Paranoid thinking can occur, especially in stressful situations, and make a person fear others. Severe dissociative symptoms can also happen. Dissociation refers to feeling you are disconnected from your body, thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. It can also lead to a feeling of being emotionally "flat".

What to Do

If you answer “yes” to a few of the above questions, you should consider speaking with a qualified mental health professional, particularly if any of these experiences are causing you a lot of distress or interfering with your quality of life.

Keep in mind that the results of this test do not mean you have BPD. Only a mental health professional can do a full assessment and make an official diagnosis.

There are treatment options for people with BPD that can lessen symptoms and improve your quality of life. In addition, studies show that the overall rate of remission among people treated for BPD can be high, and symptoms can improve with time.

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6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. National Institute of Mental Health. Borderline personality disorder. Updated December 2017.

  3. American Psychiatric Association. DSM-IV and DSM-5 criteria for the personality disorders.

  4. American Psychiatric Association. DSM-IV and DSM-5 criteria for the personality disorders.

  5. Miller CE, Townsend ML, Day NJS, Grenyer BFS. Measuring the shadows: A systematic review of chronic emptiness in borderline personality disorder. PLoS One. 2020;15(7):e0233970. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0233970

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